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Lib Dem Plans for Public Question Time

December 12, 2010 8:28 AM
RA Councillors Question Time

Lib Dems have proposed a public question time on several previous occasions, but the ruling Residents' Party have always deemed it unnecessary

Liberal Democrat councillors have proposed a Motion to the borough council which, if successful, could allow residents to ask questions at "full" council meetings.

The plans are for a public question time at the beginning of every meeting of the council (three or four times a year) and residents would be able to ask any question as long as it is relevant to borough council business. Half an hour would be set aside as a public question time. Questions submitted in advance in writing would receive a written reply, but just signing in before the 7.00pm deadline on the day would allow anyone to ask a verbal question and be given a verbal reply. Residents are currently permitted to speak at committee meetings, but only get 3 minutes and must confine comments to an item which is already on the agenda of the meeting.

Cllr Julie Morris, leader of the Lib Dem group, says "The proposals are for a tried and tested system which is known to work well. It would also mean that, for the first time, residents would not be limited to asking questions relevant to an item on the agenda. We hope that the ruling Residents' Party will see this as a step forward toward greater involvement of the public and not deem such a procedure as unnecessary - which they have always done in the past when we have presented similar Motions to Council."

The Motion is unlikely to be debated on the evening of its submission (14th December) but will go forward for debate at a Strategy & Resources meeting in February.

What do you think? Should residents be able to ask questions at a council meeting?